Sex In The Classroom - A Call for a Truth Commission

We are a nation obsessed with the truths we can handle. We bury under the rubble of patriotism anything that exposes our vulnerabilities like the Ralushai Report on Traditional Leadership, Operation Dribble, Jali and Khampepe Commissions’ findings, Inquiry into Umkhonto we Sizwe Atrocities and Commission of Inquiry into Witchcraft in Limpopo. We settle for forums where liars can perjure and escape like the Desai, Harms, and Goldstone Commissions, SABC Commission of Inquiry into Blacklisting and Related Matters, Hefer and Truth and Reconciliation Commissions etc.

Today in South Africa, especially brazenly so in Bushbuckridge we are faced with teachers who will obstruct any investigation into their sexual conduct with learners. At the same time we are burdened with teacher unions which instruct their members not to co-operate with whoever tries to investigate such atrocities. And then there are learners who are bribed and intimidated not to talk to any investigator about what they see happening in and outside of classrooms. Incidentally, we have School Governing Bodies which are run by political appointees who themselves are often guilty of the same crime or are taking instructions from their political bosses not to act.

On the ‘blamed’ side is the department of education that is incapable and ill-equipped to execute ‘truth’ investigations of this magnitude. South African Council of Educators does not have a lie detector to know if a teacher is lying about his liaisons with learners and its scope is limited. On the final end we have a Jacob Zuma government that is so focused on its own public image that it spends a lot of time and money on PR than investing in the future. The future is education and education is only feasible when learners don’t fall pregnant and drop out, are not abused by teachers and parents and are afforded the best protection by society. Half the abuse happening in black schools will not suffice in hoĆ«rskools and where the SGBs are made up of lawyers, accountants and company executives.

The atrocities committed by teachers in Bushbuckridge warrant a commission of inquiry with judicial powers to subpoena and charge people with perjury if they lie under oath. SADTU has shown its unwillingness to discipline its own members and only a process whereby ten years of abuse will be revisited and people punished can remedy this practice with the potential to arrest development. One wonders why would teachers celebrate an own goal when they score with 14-years old girls?

Without any intervention of judicial proportions there is no future for the girl-child. The Cell C Take A Girl-Child to Work campaign, which Zuma takes part in every year is just a futile money wasting exercise because the girl-child is not going to work but to labour.

Any investigation without judicial powers is a mockery and this year arrogant teachers in Bushbuckridge will be impregnating another bunch, it collapses into the social net and the teachers’ own children will be wearing their shiny blazers as they saunter into hoĆ«rskools and seminaries in town. South Africa had cold-blooded killers confessing at the TRC; it can’t fail to get confessions from teachers and former learners – for the sake of our future.

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